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Consumption of Bacteria by Amoebae

Page updated 26/2/03

Bacteria are the most important prey for most species of amoeba.  In fact the very design of some very abundant genera such as Vannella, Platyamoeba, Vexillifera and Acanthamoeba seem to be dictated by the necessity to collect bacteria.  The fan shape of many amoeba may be a mechanism whereby the moving cell maximises the contact with the substrate along which it moves so that the cell can sweep up as many surface adherent bacteria as possible. This assumes of course that this particular cell morphology is often on 2 dimensional surfaces and this seems to be borne out.  Vannella and Platyamoeba are very abundant on macroalgae surfaces and (presumably) on the surface of sand particles. Free-living amoeba are associated with biofilms in dental units (Barbeau & Buhler, 2001).



Barbeau, J. & Buhler, T. (2001) Biofilms augment the number of free-living amoebae in dental unit waterlines. Res. Microbiol. 152, 753-760.

Crump, L. M. (1920) Numbers of protozoa in certain Rothamsted soils. J.Agric.Sci. 10, 182-198.

Hahn, M. W. & Hofle, M. G. (2001) Grazing of protozoa and its effects on populations of aquatic bacteria.  FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 35, 113-121.

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